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March 1, 2023



Traveling to Manhattan and Overdosing

Recent data from New York City's Medical Examiner regarding overdose deaths in the city, shows how Manhattan is anomalous.  

The data shows The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens have some users who travel to these three boroughs and overdose.  Manhattan, however, stands apart from the other 4 boroughs with almost 200 people (who are not Manhattan residents), overdosing in Manhattan in 2021. 

The highly aggregated data does not show where exactly they are coming from, nor exactly where in Manhattan the overdosing is occurring. 

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Tranq Creaps Through the Illegal Drug Supply

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The New York Times has a terrifying story on "tranq", a growing menace in the east coast drug supply.  Philladelphia is apparently innundated with tranc, and officials in New York are bracing for it to fully hit the city.

"...lured by its decades-old reputation as a drug marketplace. They come from all over the country. Many arrive with money and pay locals to seek out drugs, until they turn into locals themselves..."

Tranq is an animal tranquilizer called xylazine — known by street names like “tranq,” “tranq dope” and “zombie drug” — is being used to bulk up illicit fentanyl, making its impact even more devastating.

Xylazine causes wounds that erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar; untreated, they can lead to amputation. It induces a blackout stupor for hours, rendering users vulnerable to rape and robbery. When people come to, the high from the fentanyl has long since faded and they immediately crave more. Because xylazine is a sedative and not an opioid, it resists standard opioid overdose reversal treatments.

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Doctors are perplexed by how xylazine causes wounds so extreme that they initially resemble chemical burns. They may not even appear at injection sites, but often on shins and forearms.

More than 90 percent of Philadelphia’s lab-tested dope samples were positive for xylazine.

In New York City, xylazine has been found in 25 percent of drug samples, though health officials say the actual saturation is certainly greater.

To read the full (paywalled) report, click HERE


OASAS's Dr. Chinazo Cunningham

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  • Racial discrepancies in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment modalities are well-known and documented. Will OASAS ensure that OASAS-licensed programs provide patients of color the same treatment modalities that whiter and wealthier patients receive (using, for example, opioid settlement money to accomplish this)?
  • We believe that OASAS agrees with The Greater Harlem Coalition that drug treatment programs should be fairly distributed throughout New York City so that there is equitable access to treatment in all communities. Will OASAS pursue a plan to better balance the distribution and admission capacity of the programs it licenses based on the residence data of patients who attend OASAS-licensed programs?
  • As OASAS knows, while East and Central Harlem have only 3.4% of New York City’s population, 18% of all OASAS-licensed New York City OTP admissions are sent to our community. Will OASAS commit to supporting the distribution of supervised injection sites equitably throughout New York City when collaborating with NYC's Department of Health?
  • Will OASAS work to end licensing and relicensing treatment programs “on the same street or avenue and within 200 feet of a building occupied exclusively as a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship?"
  • Other states, such as Arizona, have regulations that mandate that drug treatment providers create a community engagement plan and a plan to control the diversion of methadone. Will OASAS adopt similar requirements?
  • States such as Connecticut also require that the siting of drug treatment clinics be subject to a public needs assessment process. Will OASAS adopt similar requirements?
  • According to OASAS data acquired through Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, from 2010 to 2019, the number of patients obtaining drug treatment in OASAS-certified facilities and outpatient facilities dropped by 19%; residential treatment -- the most effective form of treatment -- dropped by 35%, or more than 1,500 patients. Can OASAS commit to remediating this loss of treatment capacity in New York City while not adding to Harlem’s burden?
Email OASA's Equity Office
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